Class 3A-District 6: Bloomingdale, Brandon, Durant, East Bay, Newsome, Plant, Plant City, Riverview, Tampa Bay Tech, Wiregrass Ranch
2A-7: Brooksville Central, Inverness Citrus, Brooksville Hernando, Land O' Lakes, Lecanto, Brooksville Nature Coast, Spring Hill Springstead
2A-8: Dunedin, Mitchell, River Ridge, Sunlake, Tarpon Springs, Zephyrhills
1A-8: Anclote, Crystal River, Dunnellon, Citra North Marion, Fivay, Hudson, Pasco, Ocala Trinity Catholic, Weeki Wachee
1A-9: Berkeley Prep, Carrollwood Day, Middleton, Robinson, Spoto, Tampa Bay Christian, Tampa Prep, Wesley Chapel
1A-10: Admiral Farragut, Calvary Christian, Clearwater Central Catholic, Gulf, Indian Rocks Christian, Lakewood, Northside Christian, Ridgewood, Shorecrest
Teams to watch
1. Fivay: The Falcons were the new kids on the county block last year, but this year they're the most experienced and most talented. The Falcons return every wrestler from last year's lineup, including Michael Hahn, who finished fourth in the state tournament last season. Medders has modeled his program after Gulf's, and this season may see the Falcons catapult past the Buccaneers for county supremacy. Sean Speer, who was 42-3 last season; will wrestle in a very competitive 120-pound weight class. Speer's three losses were all to wrestlers who placed in state.
2. Gulf: Coach Travis DeWalt was dealt a huge blow when heavyweight wrestler Jeff Kruse informed him he would not be competing this winter. Kruse was a state qualifier the last two seasons and finished third in the state tournament in 2010. Gulf is a young team on paper with no senior wrestlers with varsity experience. Still, Gulf returns some experience talent in lightweights Anthony Agazarm (113), Forrest Swartsel (120), and Spencer Baxter (145) and the Buccaneers always wrestle their best in the state series.
3. Pasco: Coach Mark DeAugustino is blessed with an experienced lineup, especially in the lightweights. J.P. Gamez, a third place finisher at the 1A state meet last year, will return and will be competing at 120. Niko DeAugustino is coming off a strong sophomore season and looks to go farther in the postseason this year. At 220, Zack Jordan returns. Jordan is a two-time district runner-up, and will battle it out with Hahn for conference and district titles.
4. Sunlake: The Seahawks have a good 1-2 punch at 113 and 120 pounds with Wesley Wood and John Ortiz. Ortiz became the first ever state placer for Sunlake when he finished sixth last February in Lakeland. The most experienced heavyweight wrestler will be Raymond Busbee who came on at the end of last season and will wrestle at 220. Busbee is currently playing for the Seahawk football team in the playoffs, so head coach Russ Schenk will have to be patient for his return. Schenk currently needs seven dual wins to give him 300 for his career.
5. Mitchell: The Mustangs return some experience with Justin Timberlake (126) looking to be the best bet to make a postseason run. Coach Dan Gigantelli will also be counting on big seasons from Hunter Martin (120), Max Gebler (145), Jarrett Frisbie (152), Travis Carr (160) and David Hayes (170) if the Mustangs are to contend for county and district championships.
Keep an eye on
Mike Hahn, Sr., Fivay, 220: Hahn finished a junior campaign at 34-3 and at fourth place at the state tournament. Head coach Andy Medders says Hahn has added 10-15 lbs of muscle this offseason in anticipation of another state run. Hahn is currently the No. 2-ranked 220-pound wrestler in 1A on scout.com. Kenneth Bynum of Jacksonville Raines is ranked No. 1 and he is responsible for two of Hahn's losses last year.
J.P. Gamez, Sr., Pasco, 120: Gamez finished his junior year with a 44-5 record and a third place finish at 112 lbs in the 1A state tournament. An argument could be made that Gamez was the best in his weight class in Lakeland. After leading most of his match in the semifinals, lost a heartbreaker, 13-12, to the eventual champion. Gamez will be looking to be on to atone for that defeat this season.
John Ortiz, Sr., Sunlake, 120: Ortiz notched a 48-5 record last season and a sixth-place finish at the state 2A tournament. He has had a busy offseason, competing in several tournaments including the Junior National Championships in Fargo, N.D.
Nick Popolillo, Sr. Wesley Chapel, 152/160: Popolillo has an outstanding junior campaign for the Wildcats, with over 40 victories including two in Lakeland at the state tournament, before losing to two state placers and being eliminated. Placing in the state tournament this season should be a reachable goal for Popolillo.
Anthony Agazarm, Soph. Gulf, 113: Agazarm went 48-11 as a freshman and qualified for the state tournament. With wrestling in his bloodlines and the instruction of coach DeWalt, Agazarm has the potential to be a multiple state placer.
Sean Speer, Jr. Fivay, 120: Coach Medders can't say enough about Speer. He's another county wrestler with strong bloodlines. His father, Tim, was a state runner-up in 1988.
Forrest Swartsel, Jr. Gulf: Swartsel had more than 40 wins last season, and is the ninth-ranked 120-pound wrestler in the state on Scout.com.
Kyle Arends, Jr. River Ridge: Ranked 16th in the 2A preseason Scout.com rankings. The 2011 regional qualifier would like to make it to Lakeland this season.
Vitor Demelo, Anclote, 145: Demelo is ranked ninth in Scout.com's preseason rankings at 145 pounds.
Jesse Barker, Jr. Fivay, 126: Barker uses his 6-foot frame and large wingspan to his advantage. Currently ranked 12th in the Scout.com preseason rankings.
Tournaments worth watching
Dec. 9-10 – Brooksville Kiwanis Invitational at Hernando
Dec. 10 – Fivay Falcons Saturday Slam at Fivay
Dec. 16-17 – Gulf High Duals at Gulf
Jan. 14 – McBath Tough Team Duals at Pasco
Jan. 14 – Seahawk Duals at Sunlake
Jan. 21 – Anclote Duals at Anclote
Jan 28 – Sunshine Athletic Conference at Fivay